March 17 2014 07:52 PM

Our top three picks of San Diego events this week

Steve Snyder (right) fields a question at Blind Lady Ale House.
Photo by David Rolland

1. Hey—hic!—I have a question

It wasn't your typical bar conversation: What eventually happens to helium balloons after they're released into the sky? What's string theory all about? How does a vinyl record produce sound? Does the universe have a center of mass?

Or maybe it was typical: Hey, what's the best strain of marijuana?

These were some of the brain challengers put to three scientists last Wednesday night at Blind Lady Ale House in Normal Heights, where the smarties from the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center were holding a trial run of its new Two Scientists Walk Into a Bar event, which will go down for-reals from 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday, March 20 (to coincide with the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering), at 25 bars and brewpubs around San Diego County.

At Blind Lady, the Fleet folks put up a sign—"We are scientists. Ask us anything!!"—near the bar and just stood there, waiting for someone to engage them in conversation. Soon, an effervescent woman approached and told the scientists that she saw a ball of light late at night in the sky—20 years ago. She wanted to know: What was it?

Steven Snyder, a physicist and Fleet center executive director, didn't know, of course, yet still offered up some possibilities. But the precise answer isn't the point; the idea is interaction and informal conversation about science.

"The point, really, is just to connect scientists and their community together," Snyder says later. "We have scientists all over San Diego; it's a major part of who actually San Diego is, but we don't normally think about it. So, we're just trying to play matchmaker."

To be sure, the scientists are ready for wacky, drunken questions, so let them fly. But what about the guy who won't go away, who dominates a scientist's time for, like, 45 minutes or more? 

"Well, that's why there are two scientists," Snyder laughs. "They can tag-team."

Find the list of locations and exact times at each at

2. Sensory load

Music and arts festivals rarely provide much in the way of surprises. But the New West Electronic Arts & Music Organization (NWEAMO)—shepherded by SDSU music professor Jozefius Vaatierz Rattus—offers a more engaging feast for the senses, intertwining audio and visual performances. This year's festival features multi-sensory presentations from the likes of Swarmius, Peripateticus and Delighted Decay, all under the theme of "Play and Playfulness." NWEAMO takes place at 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, March 22 and 23, at the First Unitarian Church in Hillcrest (4190 Front St.) and at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park (1875 El Prado), where performers will take advantage of the Fleet's 76-foot IMAX dome theater. Tickets are $20 per day, $10 for students. 

3. Lady day

At only 24, Karla Mi Lugo is a woman of many talents. A street performer who got her start in San Francisco, she can juggle while balancing on a basketball, draw your portrait on a balloon, play accordion dirges that'll break your heart and do a killer Billie Holiday impersonation. The latter is what brings her to the Victory Theatre (2558 Imperial Ave. in Logan Heights) at 9:30 p.m. Thursday, March 20, where, accompanied by members of gypsy-jazz band Trio Gadjo, she'll bring Holiday to life. Tickets are $15—or, for $30, show up at 8 p.m., when Technomania Circus, the folks who run the theater, will host a pre-show musical jam and art exhibition and offer a special tour of the theater's 100-year-old projector room.

Does your event deserve to be in our top three? Email Kinsee Morlan.


  • Visit one of the 70 participating restaurants, bars, coffeehouses and nightclubs in town on this night and 25 to 50 percent of sales will go to local HIV/AIDS services and prevention programs. 
  • Anthony Bernal and Chris Ward, who are vying to replace Todd Gloria on the San Diego City Council, will discuss urban issues, such as parking, homelessness and new developments
  • The new exhibition designed by Dave Ghilarducci is made from hundreds of rolls of packing tape and bound together by layers of plastic shrink-wrap. Visitors can navigate their way through cocoon-like passageways...
  • The renowned Mexican black and white photographer presents an exhibition exploring the principal themes within three groups: "Bestiarium"," Fantastic Women" and "Silent Natures."
  • Presented by Pacific Arts Movement, the sixth annual mini film fest features 14 film programs from 10 countries that includes everything from docs to romantic tearjerkers. See website for full lineup and...
  • The San Diego County Bike Coalition hosts this monthly bike-in happy hour event to get biking residents involved in their communities and discuss bike projects planned for that specific community
  • Debunk some of the stereotypes surrounding cannibalism at this new exhibition that takes a hands-on approach to the subject. Includes video games and interactive activities where patrons will have to decide...
  • So Say We All's monthly storytelling night features stories about those jobs we took because we had to take a job. Featured readers include Allison Gauss, Annmarie Houghtailing, Cecile Estelle, and more
  • Artists from the all-abstracts group show will talk about their work and techniques. Artists include Edwin Nutting, Danielle Nelisse, Leah Pantea, Lenore Simon, and more
See all events on Thursday, Apr 28